Monotonous aphorisms exist for a reason...
they say things that are true. As redundant and trite they may be, and at risking sounding ancient and southern baptisty, I have finally accepted something told to me by many professors, probably the most important thing I have ever heard: "I cannot recognize any of you from my pedestal up here because I'm old and blind and even if I could it wouldn't matter because you are all peons to me since I have tenure, blah, blah, blah, and you're probably going to forget 95% of what I say up here, blah, blah, blah, and then the doctor told me to go easy on the multivitamins or my piss would stay yellow forever, blah, blah, blah...was I rambling?"
The point is that the other day I thought that I forgot one of my favorite poems that I memorized during school. I did it because I realized at the time I had not memorized a poem since grade school and all of my empty space had been wasted on video game secret codes and the names of once-met, estranged family members whom I will never see again––just kidding, I never remembered their names. Anyway, now that I've offended enough people I wouldn't recognize the name or face of, I want to share the poem as my brain best preserves it. So my professor was right. I lost a significant portion of his edification, but the most important truism will remind me never to let go of the things I will probably drop in a frenzy to imbibe as much Japanese as possible.
So here is a classic, Shakespeare's Sonnet 116:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds,
admit impediments. Love's not love,
which alters when it alteration finds,
nor bends with the remover to remove;
Oh no! It is an ever-fix'd mark,
that looks on tempests and is never shaken,
it is a tree for every wandering bark,
who's worth's unknown although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks,
within his bending sickyl's compass come,
love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
but bears it out even to the edge of doom,
and if this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
While I'm on the Super-Sonnet train (man, I'm hilarious), here is Shakespeare's Sonnet 129. This one is not from memory, so no clapping please. I'm just a lone scrivener who likes to share thoughts.
The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
I think this is by far once of the most eloquent statements on the state of human overindulgence in ravenously hounding ideals. I can imagine (with little stretching) that the "lust in action" refers to many tragic heroes as well as their counterparts. It applies to Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, Captain Ahab, Lady Macbeth, Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (powerful name!), Billy Graham, anyone fundamental, France, China, India, Pakistan, England, Russia, the U.S.A., Iran, North Korea (all mad in pursuit or possession of nukes), anyone who's fearful and chickenshit enough to own a gun, and I think if we can extend that noose a teeny, weeny bit further we'll find Bush/Cheney hanging from the same tree of desire. If only people would recognize the thing they know deep down––that their lustful actions are driven by desperation for security and ego-compensation––we would be in a much better international position. I mean all of us.
I must realize much of what I am saying may be rather, forward, and well, more aggressive that what you are used to hearing from me. I believe that there has been too much leniency in the past few years toward stupidity and apathy, and I feel like one of the few people aware of these injustices who is also willing to say something about them. I am making appeals to reason, and I hope to hear responses to anyone interested. I hope to hear alternate hypotheses as well. I want to hear anything to know that other people have eyes and that they acknowledge their roles as witnesses to some of the most ridiculous phenomena is history. Not just Bush, although he is a favorite target. Anything worth laughing at or thinking about is welcome.